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The FCAT is almost over

The dreaded FCAT is almost over. This will be the last year that Florida students will have to take the FCAT, a test that generated tremendous controversy ever since it began in 1997. There will be still be standardized tests that students will be required to pass to move on to the next grade, but it won't be the FCAT.

Over the years, many teachers complained that the FCAT required them to focus only on a standardized test. The teachers complained that they could not encourage students to think independently. They could not encourage students to enjoy school. Teachers complained they were becoming cogs in a huge system rather than esteemed professionals. Teachers were unhappy about the fact that their salaries and promotions were based on how their students performed on the FCAT. And teachers complained they had little control over the home life or study habits of their students.

Students complained that they had to focus mostly on the FCAT. The students complained that too much pressure was based on how they performed on test and they feared they would not be promoted if they did not do well on the test.

Others said that the FCAT was needed to show where students needed improvement. They believed that the FCAT was needed to hold teachers, students and schools accountable for performance.

"I am glad that FCAT is being phased out. It focused too much on a standardized test. It took the joy out of learning," said Maryanne Swift.

"I think a standardized test is a good idea. I think students and teachers need to be held accountable for the work that is taking place in the classroom," said Juan Gonzalez.